Historical Social Research

Yee Lak Elliot Lee: Muslims as “Hui” in Late Imperial and Republican China. A Historical Reconsideration of Social Differentiation and Identity Construction [Abstract]

As a minority in China, Muslims have had to deal with a twofold problem: maintaining the boundary of their group and integrating into larger society. The various responses to this problem in different contexts and under different circumstances are evident in various group identity configurations. Based on Stausberg, it is proposed that the ways the identities are constructed refer to the dynamics of various types of social differentiation. The author argues that there were divergent identity configurations among Muslim elites regarding their identity sign Huihui in late imperial and post-imperial China, with the former constructed in the direction of religiosity and the latter in the direction of secularity. In the concluding remark, the author suggests a theoretical account of his empirical observation by drawing on elements of Luhmann’s theory of social differentiation.

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